I wanna be THE iDOLM@STER

Creators: eden, ナス太郎, つたしん

Average Rating
7.5 / 10
Average Difficulty
71.2 / 100
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Adventure (4) Avoidance (6) Trap (2) Gimmick (5) Boss (5) Long (2) Puzzle (5) Trigger (1) Rhythm (1) Kawaii (1)


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14 Reviews:

This review is based on a playthrough of everything needed to unlock Very Hard as well as Very Hard Mode itself.

Part 1: The First Medium Playthrough

This game is truly bizarre, being one of the most fangamey fangames out there. A large variety of stages, featuring a classic Bandai Namco game mixed with a cute iDOLM@STER girl. They all play completely different, and do good jobs (for the most part) of blending IWBTG gameplay with the game they are based on. The bosses are also quite good, I think my favorite was the Pac-Man boss where you have to feed a hungry girl, it was really cute and fun. There's definitely grievances, particularly in some of the slower stages being very tedious or even annoying, but for the most part, the game is solidly enjoyable, and definitely a unique, fascinating experience.

Part 2: Beginner, Hard, and Speedrunning

When I initially played iDOLM@STER, I really didn't have too much to say on it, mostly because the game was so weird and bizarre and I felt I wasn't done with it. Coming back to the game makes me realize just how unique and interesting it is. iDOLM@STER is an adventure game which is filled to the brim with random elements and janky ideas, which makes it a truly one of a kind experience. The downside to this is, especially with Eden's unconventional game design principles, the game is extremely rough around the edges, but it does have it's shining moments. I think there's a lot of super unique sections, often using their base material as a loose atmosphere to do whatever they want, whether it's accurate or not. I think my appreciation for this game greatly heightened when doing the playthrough of Hard, as it gave some stages more time to shine and have more of an identity. Some of the stages just end up being plain fun, like Yayoi's Pac-Man/Go stage, Miki's Klonoa stage, or Haruka's Metrocross stage, and even the ones I like less like Tower of Druaga or Babel are still at least respectable on them trying to be distinct, for better or for worse. Speedrunning the game however to unlock Very Hard is not great, because some of the dumber moments hurt a lot more when you actually need to do them quickly. I think playing the game over and over at least helped me appreciate the little moments which make the game so memorable, and overall gave me a much stronger personal attachment to it. I recommend the game even more now, definitely on beginner and medium and maybe even hard if you feel like it and have the experience. You at the very least won't forget it.

Part 3: Very Hard

Coming out of the other side of Very Hard alive was possibly one of the most fascinating fangame experiences I’ve ever had. I really need to emphasize that this difficulty is one of the most absolutely brutal things I’ve ever seen in a fangame, and I ended up playing the whole thing.

So right off the bat you get introduced to the nature of Very Hard when you see less saves and more spikes, and most importantly the baseball save, which for all intents and purposes is this game's hazing ritual on every difficulty. On this one, the baseball save tells you “things are gonna be different, and you are gonna get knocked down a lot by something you weren’t ready for.” This is immediately evident when you get around to playing the Tower of Druaga stage, already an infamous part of the game, but on Very Hard, basically everything is kicked up to a ridiculous degree. More enemies, more dangerous enemies, more screens, more crazy cycle stuff, less saves, more RNG, invisible exits, basically everything you’d get ripped apart for even considering putting in your game is here in spades. The centerpiece is the slime maze, a brutally unfair gauntlet of slow moving slime enemies which can often shoot through walls and block your path. If you even beat the stage, in spite of this being stage 1, you are graced with one of the absolute largest roadblocks I’ve ever seen in an adventure game, Ami Futami and Mami Futami. Everything that made this stage so dumb is here, the RNG is absolutely ruthless. You need so many things to go perfectly or victory is simply not possible, and in my opinion, this is only the second worst part of the game.

The rough introduction is not indicative of the entire game. The majority of Very Hard is actually pretty fun and clever and speaks volumes about just how many interesting ways there are to make a game harder. There are some stages like Babel which I grew more fond of on Very Hard because they were just more interesting to play. There’s plenty of memorable and cool obstacles throughout, and the bosses get more changes than you might expect, for better or for worse. I’d say the least interesting changes are the addition of more end of save traps which can waste a lot of your time, it’s not egregious but they also aren’t super fun, albeit it is quite a memorable way in which the game communicates that it is not friends with you.

It’s worth bringing up the other two major roadblocks before the end game, the Hibiki’s Taiko boss, and Yukiho’s avoidance. These are both weaker parts of the game, especially taiko which is my vote for worst thing in very hard. It’s extremely frustrating and annoying to play, the chart is horrible and not synced at all, and it’s a very hopeless experience for most of it. Yukiho’s avoidance is generally seen as one of the biggest obstacles, to me it wasn’t so bad because at the end of the day it’s a barrage avoidance, but if you aren’t prepared or experienced, this WILL be a major issue in your playthrough as it was for most of the people who got this far. It requires a lot of patience to get through this one.

I think two of the biggest moments that really solidified the fact that I genuinely just enjoyed Very Hard was Takane’s stage and boss and Haruka’s avoidance. These sections were just genuinely fun, there was some creativity in how things were changed which is possibly the most admirable thing about the entire game. There’s lots of things like that even in the worse stages like druaga, which truly demonstrate the level of creativity this game has on display, and at the bare minimum when the game is unfun, I can appreciate that this mode exists. I love when people change something to be harder in ways beyond just removing saves and checkpoints, and for all its drawbacks, iDOLM@STER delivers.

All of this is building up to the Very Hard exclusive stage, and at this point everyone is well aware that it’s Kotori’s stage. The stage itself feels like a culmination of everything it took to get here. Lots of RNG, lots of learning, lengthy saves, unique gimmicks, the whole gang's here. Despite some frustrations, it’s one of the most fun things in the game, a sentiment which holds true for most of what I like about this game. At the end of the stage you get to one of the most infamous bosses of all time, Kotori Otonashi. This boss has a major fundamental flaw, the mashing is unreasonable. There are people that can do it, but it is painful to do and that does not excuse the large portion of people who simply can’t play this boss. This fact led many people to use a jump script to do the mashing, myself included, and with this, I think the boss is actually really fun. It’s incredibly stupid but unlike Ami and Mami, the ridiculous RNG here is often funny and entertaining rather than annoying. I feel like the boss speaks for itself, and at this point everyone has seen it. I can’t really say much else about it.

As some final points, there is a M@STER mode, but nobody will ever beat it, and it doesn’t seem fun anyways so I have no interest in trying. For my purposes, my iDOLM@STER journey has concluded, at least the IWBTG fangame, maybe I’ll play the actual games/watch the anime one day. After all of Very Hard, despite all the frustrating and annoying garbage, I can confidently say it was one of the most memorable and addicting fangame experiences I had. I was always excited to play more and see new stuff, and most of it was very fun for me. Maybe my taste is just odd, maybe I developed stockholm syndrome, but Very Hard honestly improved my opinion of the game, and made me like and appreciate it more, just like I did after doing Hard Mode and the speedruns. I’m incredibly thankful for this game, and I hope one day to find something that is as exciting as it. I’m doubtful I will, iDOLM@STER is truly one of a kind, but at least I got something like it once in my life, and as such I’ll always think fondly of the experience.

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[5] Likes
Rating: 9.0 90       Difficulty: 90 90
Jul 18, 2023
A fangame with a name that makes people expect it to be full of iDOLM@STER stuff, but instead its full of stages based on classic arcade games like in Permanence 2.. and iDOLM@STER bosses or avoidances.

The difficulty is not well balanced, the first stages are clearly harder than the later ones. The platforming and the puzzles are fun, but some bosses are frustrating. There is a lot of content, and most of the gimmicks from the old games worked fine with IWBTG physics, and despite the game having some tedium and few bugs, I still think it's overall worth playing.

Also if you want to go for hard mode since there is even more content unlocked, (have to beat the game first in medium sadly) be aware that everything gets buffed real bad, more amount of spikes, longer endurance segments, less saves, and soul breaking traps. Very hard mode is unlocked after clearing hard mode + after clearing the game on a speedrun mode under a certain time. Only the best and most patient fangame players can beat that mode monkaS

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Tagged as: Avoidance Gimmick Boss Long Puzzle
[5] Likes
Rating: 6.7 67       Difficulty: 65 65
Jan 11, 2017
All stages do it about a nostalgic game, not problem even if you don't know iDOLM@STER.

Though it is a long piece work elaborated like this, relief measures are abundant, and even game poorness can play, and the work is rare.

It is varied, and the gimmicks are scattered, too, and themes of each stage are made well with 13 stages in VeryHard, too.Speedrun is necessary to play in VeryHard and is serious, but an additional stage of VeryHard is splendid.

Difference between stage and boss by the degrees of difficulty is made well.

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[2] Likes
Rating: 10.0 100       Difficulty: 95 95
Aug 31, 2017
Creative assuredly good ,but level design no good ,some save is hard and precise ,some boss RNG make me annoying

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[2] Likes
Rating: 5.0 50       Difficulty: 60 60
Jan 13, 2017
Rating based on M@ster content.
M@ster difficulty is definitely impossible. To challenge this difficulty, you need to clear this game at least 6 times(medium+hard 1st and beginner+medium+hard RTA and VH).
M@ster is more harder than VH mode and much less saves. After clear Skykid stage, there is an ex-stage. The second to last boss has 4 phases and costs over 20 minutes. I don't know is there any save between phases. Final boss has a death limit. You can only die 3 times or you will back to the boss before one. If you get S rank in all RTA mode you will get 15 time death limit. But medium and hard S rank time is 53min and 2h30min which means you need to clear the game much faster than todays WR.
So if someone clear this game, he really loves this game.

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[1] Like
Rating: 4.0 40       Difficulty: 100 100
Nov 12, 2023